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Tiny Texas Houses Makes Tiny Homes Tiny Book

A totally unexpected treat came in the mail a few days ago: a tiny (4" x 4") handmade book by Brad and Bryl of Tiny Texas Houses. It was made with a paper bag and has 6 pull-out tabs. Incredible.
There are 6 pages on Brad's Tiny Texas Houses in Tiny Homes. All built with salvaged material, designs based on local shacks and farm buildings. The cover of (our) book is one of TTH's buildings with a rainbow, and they used it as a cover for their mini-book.

To the left of center here is a thin chip of wood that pulls out. Best holiday card ever. Everything about our about-to-be-launched book is feeling good!

Music Este Semana

A great week for musical discoveries:
1. Unannounced, a CD arrived in the mail from Pepe Alvarez: I Have to Paint My Face: Mississippi Blues 1960. Makes me want to move to Mississippi! Acoustic recordings by Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records, bless him for all his good work, these are bluesmen who never made it into prime time. Blues fans, I heartily recommend this one; you'll love it.
2. Marion Williams, Remember Me. I've had this gospel record for years, just pulled it out. Marion had a 4-octave vocal range. I listened to it driving along the coast a few days ago. What power! Black gospel singers get the message of Jesus right. What joy! Another of my gospel favorites is Dorothy Love Coates.
3. On The Jimmy Reed Highway Omar Kent Dykes and Jimmie Vaughan, along with guests like James Cotton and Delbert McClinton, are channelling Jimmy here. Baby What You Want me To Do, Bright Lights Big City, and a version of Big Boss Man that's had me dancing (when no one's around), and has been rolling through my brain for days/ You ain't so big, you just tall that's all… Thanks to bayrider for the tip on this one. More good music from Austin…

Deek's Stunned by Tiny Homes

On his Relaxshacks blog yesterday, Deek Diedricksen, artist, author, builder, blogger, and prankster, upon receiving his copy of Tiny Homes. Deek brings fun into the tiny home movement.

Thomas Builds Pallet House in North Carolina

Hi, Lloyd!
First, I want to say thank you for publishing such amazing books. So very inspiring.
   Secondly, I thought you might be interested in seeing the 8'x14' house I'm currently building out of reclaimed pallets. Here's a link where you can see photos taken with my iPhone: http://shltr.net/palleths  
   In January 2011, I purchased 5.69 acres of forest land, bordered on all sides by the Pisgah National Forest, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina near Asheville. There is currently no road going to my land, but I am able to drive within 1700 feet of it, so all the materials were carried in by hand strapped to a metal-frame backpack.
   All the lumber has been purchased from local saw-millers who harvest trees that would otherwise be sawed into firewood or thrown into the landfill. Two rather large logs were given to me by the Gateway Museum in Old Fort, NC and one was used to build the Sycamore timber trusses, which will have triangular windows in them that open. The other is a spalted Maple and is currently planned to become the final interior wall covering.

Cedar Siding For Tiny Home on Trailer

"For a truly homelike feel, there’s nothing like cedar siding on the exterior. For the Ballard model we’re building, we used kiln-dried, tight-knot cedar. We chose a lap pattern with a seven-inch reveal alternating with a one and three-quarter-inch reveal. We love the distinctive look it gives.…"

BBC Video on Tiny Homes

To: "'Lloyd Kahn'"
Subject: RE: Tiny House story
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2011 18:57:02 -0000

Hi Lloyd,
This story on BBC news today:


I met Louie about15 years ago when a mutual friend brought me over to his shop. As we drove up to about the prettiest building I'd ever seen, Louie came out through the door with an old tattered copy of our 1973 book Shelter, told me to crouch down with him in the doorway. "Look,' he said, pointing to the Mandan Lodge on p. 4 of Shelter, "I built this building from this painting in your book." Wow! He turned out to be one of my 2 favorite builders in the world (the other is Lloyd House) and one of my very bestest of friends. He is the featured builder in HomeWork.
   Louie's a master craftsman. Everything he does is finely crafted. He's a constant inspiration to me to do things better. It's a treat for me to come up to his place. We walk along the riverbed, look for mushrooms, go out on his sailboat, drive along the coast (one day along the ocean listening to Leonard Cohen), have wild duck dinners, visit interesting people, and have whatever adventures we can conspire up.
This is where I stay when I visit; it's a a circular room adjacent to the shop, desk on the left for my MacBook Air. I set up my Sirius radio and get in some writing while looking out at the vineyard, apple orchard and redwoods. Fire burning in little woodstove right now this cold sunny afternoon.

(Photoshop junkies: The Photomerge function didn't work here, so I just pasted them side by side.)

Note: This is getting posted out of sequence. Such is life.

OLD Friends

I bailed from my job as an insurance broker in San Francisco (and from my generation) in the mid-60s. In 1964, I bought a lid of weed (really a tin Prince Albert can) from a tattooed sailor in Mill Valley, smoked a bit that night and went totally on to the right side of my brain. Boy! My days in the business world were doomed.
Things were happening in SF, the world was changing, and after a trip riding the rails and hitchhiking to the east coast, I returned home, quit my then-well-paying job and went to work as a carpenter. 1965. What a relief to quit wearing suits, which I hated, and to now go to lumber yards and drive around in a pickup truck scavenging building materials.
I left the culture of my age group and dove into the cutural revolution. People 10 years younge -- what they were into resonated with me. My high school and college friends stayed on the business track, with its attendant economic rewards. I'm the only long-haired guy from the Lowell class of '52. So it's with interest I go to the occasional luncheon reunions. Here were maybe 15 guys and I felt a genuine affection for a bunch of them, in spite of economic and political differences. Some deep roots here. When we grew up, we thought the whole world was like San Francisco, the whole world like California. (Were we wrong!) Next year in October we're having our 60th (ulp!) reunion.

Rollerman Skating Prone Down Mountain Pass

"Rollerman, alias Jean-Yves Blondeau, is the proud owner of the world's only rollerblading supersuit. When he puts it on, he becomes Rollerman - he should have been on "So You Want To Be A Superhero."
   The Rollerman suit is Blondeau's own invention, a 31-wheel roller suit that allows him to move on paved surfaces in an amazing number of positions at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
   He is a student in a design school in Paris; he created the body rolling suit as part of his work in school. He says that he wanted to "prove the people can roll in any position" - I think he makes his point…"
Sent by Jack Burns

4-Story Granaries Built of Mud in Tunisia

"The Ksar Ouled Soltane is a popular tourist attraction in Tunisia’s southern province of Tataouine. The Ksar Ouled Soltane is a particularly attractive and well-preserved fortified granary built by the Berbers in the 15th Century. A Ksar is a term describing a Berber village consisting of generally attached houses, often having collective granaries and other structures (mosque, bath, oven, shops) widespread among the oasis populations of North Africa.
The multi-level granaries are called ghorfas and the fortified village is the Ksar. Granaries were fortified to stop raids on a village’s food supply. Ksar Ouled Soltane is located on a hilltop, to help protect it from raiding parties in previous centuries. You can explore all the little staircases and different levels of the structure.…"http://www.zacktravel.com/ksar-ouled-soltane/

Old Log Cabin

"Zane Grey’s 1920s wilderness cabin on the Rogue River in Winkle Bar, Oregon.  Best known for Riders of the Purple Sage (1912), which helped establish the formula of the modern western, Grey wrote nearly 90 novels, travelled extensively, and is rumored to have fished in excess of 300 days a year.
(Source: Flickr / photosbyadrienne)"

Thatched Houses in England


Tiny Homes Are Hot!

I sure wish I could say we cleverly timed it this way, but it's been pure fortuitousness. Two years in the making, and our tiny homes book is about to arrive in the USA next week* and verily, the subject is hot as a firecracker. The media can't get enough of tiny homes right now. Easy to see why: bankrupt mortgages, grossly overlarge houses, high rents. What's a poor boy to do but build his own house? What;s a poor girl to do but the same?

Above fromABC News, Charleston, S.C., Dec. 26, 2011
"Local couple builds 200 square feet dream home
…Not long out of college, uncertainty in the current economy is what the couple says was a key element in their decision to enter the tiny house market.…The couple says any time they talk about the house, there is plenty of interest. They hope their construction will spark enough interest to spread the popularity of tiny houses and their benefits.…"
"'People my age, people I talk to that don't want to be indebted, people that are coming out of college in an economically unstable time. ...Many are interested,' Tremols said.…"

*by sea from Hong Kong through the Panama Canal, up the Mississippi through New Orleans to Memphis, Tennessee, thence a few hundred miles by truck to the Perseus/PGW warehouse, from whence it'll be shipped out to bookstores, should be available late January. Boy, it's been a long haul.

All My Blog Photos in One Place

Pintarest is an "online billboard." Somehow it's got all (most?) of my blog photos from the last few years, organized like a scrolling poster. I don't remember if I signed up for this, but I think it's great. (Many photos are posted numerous times, probably because I went back and corrected certain posts.)

Also check out the "architecture" category: http://pinterest.com/all/?category=architecture.

Thankful Yurt

"We are a French-American family with two little ones, building our eco-home in the Dordogne countryside. Kevin is French, a carpenter and green builder (as well as a translator), Elizabeth is American and a full-time mama and formerly a psychotherapist in California. We have a delightful 3 year old boy and baby girl. We are very interested in sustainable living and growing, permaculture, meditation and community. And you!
*please note: We would love to host volunteers with building skills, especially skills in carpentry, wood-working and roofing!"

Tiny Houses in Texas

(Brad Kittel's Tiny Texas Houses are featured in Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter.)

Story by Ray Bragg, photo by Billy Calzada in San Antonio Express-News, December 25, 2011
"LULING – Although Brad Kittel runs a construction company, he's really in the deconstruction business.
As owner of Tiny Texas Houses, located on hilltop that overlooks Interstate 10, he builds homes that are a fraction of the size of the modern McMansion. His basic sales pitch: sometimes a little is more than enough.

Keith Levy's "Flying Tortoise" housebus in New Zealand

"Keith purchased his 1977 Bedford Bus back in 2007 with the idea of living in it off-the-grid full-time. Living off the grid is nothing new to Keith. He has been at it for the last 21 years, living mostly on boats and finally making it to land with the purchase of his bus named “The Flying Tortoise.”
The Flying Tortoise has a slew of unique features to help make living on his 131 square feet bus more comfortable and certainly more interesting. After looking at some of the images of Keith’s bus, it’s apparent that alot of thought and creativity have gone into his tiny home.…"

Keith's bus is featured in our new book (set to hit bookstores late January), Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

Great photos cordwood houses

Short lengths of debarked trees (cordwood) are laid with a mixture of mortar and insulating materials - such as sawdust or spray foam - in between the mortar. The longer the length of the logs, the better the insulation qualities. 12 inches to 18 inches is most common and wood species will also determine insulating value. On average, a 12 inch wide wall will have a 20-25 R value. Cabin by Rob Roy. Image by Pseu www.flickr.com
Gail and Mark Dupar’s cordwood shed on Decatur Island in Washington’s San Juans. Image: John Granen, Kathleen Brenzel, www.blog.drummondhouseplans.com

Sent us by Pepe Alvarez